Church needs to speak with more courage – Archbishop

Bishops lack confidence in dealing with media

The Church needs to learn how to deal with the media with more confidence, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh has said.

Speaking on Beyond Belief on RTÉ One on Monday night, in a discussion on religion in the media, Archbishop Eamon Martin admitted that there was a “lack of confidence” among the Church hierarchy in interacting with the media.

“I think that it is something that we have to train ourselves in,” he said. “We have to be more respectful of the media and what they are looking for, and we have to invest in media and in communications.”

Social media

Referring to social media, Archbishop Martin, who will succeed Cardinal Seán Brady as Primate of All-Ireland, said “there is a whole digital continent out there which is ready for mission”.

He said “there is a lot of people looking to be connected, looking to communicate and we have a place in that particular digital public square”.

Archbishop Martin said that there was a need for more Church spokespeople, other than bishops and priests, and praised the work of Catholic Comment in training lay people to speak to the media about their faith.

He also called for more “fairness and balance” in the reporting of religion and faith matters. He said that “if 90% of the people in Ireland self-identify in the census as being Christian” then there should be at least “some recognition of that in programming and the balance that is struck in discussion programmes”. “I think it is getting better, more and more people of faith are beginning to have the courage to say, ‘look, this is what I am about and I am proud to be a person of faith and I want to talk about it’.”